A shot in the wrong direction

Brendan Scheib-Feeley '18

Chicago is in the midst of its most lethal year in the past twenty years. No matter where you live in the Windy City, you are always advised to be aware of your surroundings. I have to be careful when doing normal things such as walking home from the train. Three years ago, a car was firebombed at my red line stop. A couple of months later, an innocent man was shot a few blocks from my house because he walking down the street and got caught in crossfire. Soon after that, a man was shot in the McDonald’s parking lot that I had gone to a day earlier. I live in Rogers Park, a far north side neighborhood that people normally do not associate with this violence. These events suggest that the issue with guns in America has gone too far and nothing has been done to stop it, politically or culturally.

In January of 2017, a bill was introduced in the House of Representatives entitled H.R 38, or Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017. The bill allows for an individual to carry a concealed gun in any state, as long as they hold a concealed carry permit. The current Illinois concealed carry law is relatively strict in comparison to other states, as one must follow a number of criteria as well as being over the age of twenty-one. However, in order to gain a concealed carry permit in Indiana, a person only needs to be over eighteen and does not even need Indiana residency. The thought that an eighteen year old from Chicago could drive less than an hour away and get a concealed carry permit from Indiana disgusts and frightens me. If H.R 38 were to be signed into law, it would be entirely legal for the eighteen year old to carry a concealed handgun as they walked through the streets of Chicago. Though illegality may not completely stop teenagers from possessing guns, a law like this would not help the problem.

The argument could be made that H.R 38 will have no effect on the amount of shootings that occur, or the amount of teenagers that own guns. We honestly have no idea whether or not that will be true. The fact remains that a bill like this is one more step down the slippery slope. After each mass shooting, Americans raise a call for action for something to be done about the issue of assault weapons in America. This lasts for a short while, but once the NRA starts flashing their money, our politicians grow silent. The current gun laws do nothing to stop innocent deaths, and the fact that they are being made more lenient means that these innocent people will continue to die.

I believe in the Constitution, and I believe that although times were different in the 1700s, our Founding Fathers knew what they were doing. The Second Amendment was written for a reason, and that reason was to protect our citizens and protect our country. It was not written so that men like Stephen Paddock could purchase 33 guns in the last twelve months, most of them semi-automatic. Semi-automatic weapons are not associated with instances of self-protection. Semi-automatic weapons are associated with death, specifically the death of humans. There is absolutely no reason for regular citizens to own semi-automatic weapons. And yet they still do, and will continue to do so until our politicians decide to do something about the issue of guns rather than sit back and allow these mass shootings to continue to occur, year after year.